Reports & Forecasts: July 2012

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

July has to be one of our favorite months to fish. Trout are going to move to deeper water. Look for them to be on reefs more toward the middle of the lake. Top waters are very productive this time of year. At first light, the trout will be cruising the upper part of the water column looking up, until the sun gets high and hot temperatures send them down to cooler water. Also, look for them along the Ship Channel in seven to eight feet of water. They cruise the drop off, looking to attack the first school of mullet or pogies they come across. The short rigs, jetties and beachfront are going to be on fire this year. With all the fresh water we had this spring, I've got a sneaking suspicion a lot of our fish moved out of the lake and into the Gulf. Look for redfish to be in massive schools in the middle of the lake. Find them under birds and slicks and over mud boils. If you would rather catch them in the marsh, Oyster Bayou and the West Cove marshes will have nice schools wallowing in the shallows. The marshes behind the weirs should be the same way.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

Like always, James says the fishing in Galveston has been really good when the weather cooperates, less good when it's windy. "Overall, it's been great. The average size of the trout I'm catching is better than I can ever remember for the hot weather. We're limiting out without any problem on almost every outing. The best bite has been out in the middle, fishing out of the boat, close to deep water. I've had a good topwater bite when it's been calm, especially on the little lures like a She Pup. Bigger ones work better when there's a light chop on the water. Bass Assassins have worked well too, of course. The bays have gotten saltier and the water holds its clarity better as a result. I'm not having to go far from home to catch my fish most of the time. Lower Galveston Bay is full of fish, and they're up and down the ship channel too. In fact, we just located and stayed on a really nice school of big reds out there. This pattern of finding fish around structure and slicks in the middle is here to stay for the summer."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Fishing has been steady and good in Galveston lately, Jim says. "We're catching plenty of trout and redfish out in the middle when it's not blowing too hard. The trout are an impressive size on average, lots of two and three pounders, and a few bigger ones, up to about seven pounds. The bite has been good on topwaters early, better on tails later. The keys out there are to stay around the slicks and mud boils, especially when reds are the target. The wading has been good too, as long as the tide's not too low. We're catching real good on topwaters while wading. And the surf has been hot quite a bit already. It's a lot better than last year. The wind is cooperating more of the time, and the water has been green to the beach several times. When it's right, the same lures are working great out there, topwaters and tails. The fish are stacked up good on the west side of the bay, way into the upper parts too, especially around Todd's Dump. It should be a great summer if we get some consistently good weather."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Despite some nagging southwest winds, Randall has had some good success fishing lately. "We really smoked 'em yesterday and today. The wind finally turned a little more out of the southeast, and the dirt fell out of the water. We started seeing lots of mullet fleeing for their lives and some ribbonfish doing the same. The topwater has been good at times, but we're catching best on big Norton Sand Eels in red magic and bone diamond. When it's windy and the water's ugly, we're switching over to live bait to keep catching. I expect the surf to kick in hard this month. We had a good shot at it out there a couple of weeks ago, and it was epic. My first three fish one day weighed about 17 pounds. Usually, July is a steady month along the beachfront. We'll probably have the best luck on days when the tide is incoming early in the morning out there. Staying in the shallows of the first gut or maybe just offshore of the first bar is the best bet. When the surf's not good, we'll likely key on deeper areas of the bay with scattered shell bottom."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service -713.725.2401

As usual, Charlie outlines quite a few productive options for the Matagorda area in July. "We're still catching plenty of trout out in the middle of East Bay. The fish over there don't seem to want to pull onto the shorelines in good numbers. When it's calm enough, the wading on the mid-bay reefs is good too. Best bite is on soft plastics on both those patterns. Topwaters are working better in West Bay. Mostly, we wade over there, keying on the coves and sand bars along the shoreline. The fish are smaller on average, but catching limits is often possible. The small lures like Spook Juniors and She Pups seem to work better than the big ones in the bays this time of year. Of course, what we really want to do is get into the surf. I believe some of the biggest trout in our area stay out there. I saw one a few years ago that was bigger than any trout I've ever seen. It's part of what makes fishing the beach front so much fun, knowing that a giant fish might cruise by any minute. And out there, the big topwaters work like a charm."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Over the past few weeks, we have been experiencing some of the best fishing I can remember. When the winds subsided, many fish were caught in the surf, out on the rigs, over deep shell, and in the river. It was amazing! We've had quality trout coming out of the surf up to twenty five inches, mostly on Super Spooks in bone/flash. We've had trout up to twenty inches on the rigs in West Matagorda biting free-lined shrimp. We're also catching plenty of trout to twenty inches over deep shell on chicken-on-a-chain paddletails. The tripletail bite has been crazy too! I have never personally caught as many tripletail (9) in one trip as we did one afternoon last week. I believe the key to the awesome bite we've been experiencing is the tremendous amount of bait in the bays. We have tons of menhaden, shad, and shrimp, the most I remember seeing in a long time. If this amount of bait stays consistent throughout the summer, it could be one of the best in recent memory!

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be fishing close to the Gulf of Mexico in July, when he's not actually fishing in it! "We are always looking to get to the surf as much as possible in July. When it's right, it's some of the best fishing of the year for trout. Just recently, we had a couple of good days where we could get out there, and it was awesome. On one of the days, the early bite was not too good. I only had 8 trout by 10 o'clock. But when the tide moved a little in the middle of the day, the bite turned on. In the next hour and a half, we finished our limit, and they were all solid trout, up to about 24 inches. You'd hook one on a topwater and be bringing it in and look underneath it and there would be four or five more solid trout following. Of course, the surf is not always right. When we can't get out there, we'll be wading areas with lots of sand and grass close to the Pass. Finding lots of rafted, nervous bait in shallow water close to drop offs will be a key to catching in the bays. Topwaters and tails will be the main lures in the bay and in the surf."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Blake says he'll be doing his typical summer thing in July, fishing various patterns, mostly by wading. "I like to key on sandy, grassy shorelines early, using topwaters like Super Spooks with some chrome on them. We've been having some steady action lately in knee to waist-deep water early fishing that pattern. Later in the morning, into the middle of the day, we'll be following the fish out away from the shorelines, throwing mostly Norton Sand Eels in colors like pumpkinseed/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse at the deeper grass beds. That pattern has been producing really well lately too. I also might spend some time wading on the reefs in San Antonio Bay. There have been a bunch of trout and redfish up that way. And we might make some runs out into the surf if it gets right. I haven't really had much of a reason to do that lately with the excellent action we're finding in the bays, but that can change as it gets hotter and stays that way. Out there, we'll look to fish with topwaters, staying close to the beach for the most part."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160

July is a great month for fishing. There are a variety of ways to go after speckled trout and red fish in the heat. One of my favorites is to drift or wade in twelve inches of water or less and sightcast at redfish, black drum and trout. I will cast an eighth or sixteenth ounce jighead rigged with a Bass Assassin Die Dapper in natural colors if I'm spotting many reds. I will use a three inch Berkley Gulp! Shrimp in new penny or pearl or an amazingly productive, shrimp-scented, chartreuse-colored Fishbites, which I also rig on the jigheads. The finicky black drum really like the Fishbites. The reds will be schooling, and this is good time to locate them by running slowly while looking for the schools as they create big boat-like wakes while moving away from your engine noise. My favorite lures to cast at the redfish schools is a half ounce weedless spoon or the Assassin Die Dappers rigged on eighth ounce heads. A medium speed, steady retrieve with the Die Dappers and spoons while drifting in clear, shallow water will also produce trout and reds.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.937.5961
With water quality improving throughout the area, Joe expects to be fishing in various places during the hot weather in July. "I'll be fishing in Baffin some. We were sightcasting reds in the shallows there yesterday. The water is looking better lately, so that's become more of a daily possibility. I've also been fishing further south some, along the Kenedy Shoreline. The water over there is clear most of the time. When it's hot, it's good to stay in the boat and use the trolling motor to stay out away from the rocks and cast sideways toward them. Early in the mornings, topwater lures have been working well. Yesterday, we had a twenty seven inch redfish and a twenty four inch trout within the first fifteen or twenty casts. Later in the day, soft plastics fluttered around the edges of the rocks and short-hopped closer to the bottom usually work better. As long as the water stays clear like it has been, fishing soft plastics around the rocks is pretty easy, since it's possible to see them. I also like using the same lures around spoil banks in July."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

July has became one of my personal favorite months to fish in the surf of PINS and that could well be because I treasure our topwater fishing for speckled trout and the peak of this action is mid-June through 10 Aug. The fish can be very selective in color selection of lures so bring lots of colors and work your way through them till you find one that works. Upon occasion many different types of lures may work but it changes from day to day and there are no shortcuts. You simply have to grind it out till you find a successful one. Whiting on fresh, peeled shrimp and Fishbites pink and green will be the mainstay of bottom fishermen. Speck rigs and silver spoons should be a blast on skipjacks and Spanish mackerel. Redfish may or may not be available. Tarpon are possible as are king mackerel. It's going to be deathly hot midday so stay hydrated and spend your energy wisely. Shark fishing will be most productive at night on baits far from shore.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal – 956.944.2559

Sitting here in the AC, it is hard to imagine how hot it's going to get. The night temperatures are already near 80s, doesn't give you much relief. Speckled trout should be holding in the deeper pockets with an occasional trip to the 3 ft to 4 ft depths looking for some bait coming off the flats. Even when you can find mullet working, it can get tough to locate any number of good fish. Offshore fishing should be very good with these warm water temperatures. There should be blue water right at the jetties soon. Kingfish will be working the bait balls just outside of the jetties and the tarpon won't be far behind. The new reef is producing good catches of snapper. No matter the conditions, be safe and enjoy the gifts of nature. One day fishing is great, the next is not so - but still should be enjoyed. An important side note: there is no fuel on the water in Port Mansfield; bring gas jugs and stop at the Exxon station.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty – – 956.943.2747

Since boat traffic increased this spring, limiting on keeper reds has become a challenge. Trout are plentiful and occasionally quite large; however, the only one we've seen over 30 inches in the last couple of weeks was floating dead. The abundance of the grass on the west side of the bay is not recovering as much as we would like from the freshwater flooding of two summers ago, so the area stays very muddy whenever the wind blows. Freddy says, "When the water clarity is an issue, the best bet is to use the Cajun Thunder round cork or the new Back Bay Thunder with a fifteen to twenty inch leader and a Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp in light colors rigged on a quarter ounce jighead. If the wind dies, a Precision Tackle eighth ounce gold or copper spoon works great." Fishing is good in the shallows when the tide's spiking, but fish don't stay on the flats well when movement is sluggish. Avoiding running around on the flats may allow for catching fish that aren't actively feeding. And last, please help us fight the Open Bay Dredge Proposal!